A series of recently published Apple patent filings suggest that the company has developed a considerable digital fitness program for iTunes and touchscreen digital media devices, offering fitness training exercises, performance metrics, and a single integrated control screen with workout information and audio navigation. Originally discovered by AppleInsider, the filings, titled “Integrated sensors for tracking performance metrics,” “Dynamically adaptive scheduling system,” “Rewards systems,” and “Systems and methods for facilitating group activities,” describe a software- and hardware-based fitness system that includes sensors for motion and biometrics, a rewards program, and a system for facilitating group activities in which users can challenge others to match their workout performance. Using iTunes as a starting point, Apple’s system would begin with a computer-based user interview, allowing users to enter current health statistics, list any current medical conditions and/or medications they may be taking, set health goals, and so forth. Following the completion of the interview, the user is presented with suggested exercises, which can be synced to an iPhone or iPod, guiding the user through each exercise. Rewards can also be distributed to users based on individual performance data relative to a larger group’s data.

The date of the filings—March 27, 2007—suggests that Apple has been working on iTunes and touchscreen-based iPod exercise interface expansions for well over a year, preceding the iPod touch’s announcement and release by roughly six months. As with all patent filings, however, these do not necessarily represent any future product releases from Apple, but offer evidence of the company’s research in this area.

Charles Starrett

Charles Starrett was a senior editor at iLounge. He's been covering the iPod, iPhone, and iPad since their inception. He has written numerous articles and reviews, and his work has been featured in multiple publications.